Are Pistols Ambidextrous?

are pistols ambidextrous

Whether you are looking at investing in a new pistol for personal use or for sporting purposes then how the gun sits in your hand is one of the most important factors to consider. You certainly do not want a loose grip on a pistol.

With the smaller size of a handgun, it means that the only supporting element attaching you to the gun is your hand. So, how your hand connects with a pistol is very important. It can affect everything from your safety to your shot.

Here we will tell you everything that you need to know about pistols for right-handed and left-handed people as well as exploring whether or not pistols are ambidextrous.

Are Pistols Ambidextrous?

For the most part, most pistols will classify as ambidextrous. The same pistol can be used whether you are right-handed or left-handed. The only instance of when a pistol absolutely cannot be used by both a right-handed and left-handed person is when they are molded. 

Pistols can be molded to a certain hand, giving the owner a better grip. In competitive shooting, these types of grip are often used to help the owner get a better aim and better contact with the gun. Essentially allowing the gun to become an extension of their arm and allowing for ease of use. 

So, if your partner’s pistol is molded to their right hand, but you are left-handed, you simply will not be able to shoot their pistol as your hand will not sit comfortably over the bottom of the gun.

Of course, there are some pistols that are made to be entirely ambidextrous (we will explore these later). However, the vast majority of pistols can be used by both left-handed and right-handed people but there are a few disadvantages to note. 

For example, the vast majority of people are right-hand dominant, so most pistols are made with this in mind. Most commonly, the magazine is designed to be ejected using the right hand by placing your left hand on the grip.

Therefore, although you will be able to shoot perfectly fine with this pistol if you are left-handed, you will need to find a solution to the fact that your thumb is on the wrong side of the grip.

So, although a left-handed person will be able to shoot almost any pistol perfectly fine they will have some issues to work around when it comes to the ease with which they can use it. However, if solutions to these problems are found then there is no need to invest in a fully ambidextrous pistol unless desired.

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When Should I Use A Left-Handed Pistol?

If you are uncomfortable using a standard pistol as a left-handed person then you may want to consider an ambidextrous pistol instead. Since only 12% of the population is actually left-handed then many manufacturers will not bother to make left-handed guns.

Instead, they will manufacture and produce what are known as ambidextrous guns. This allows for easy use by both right-handed and left-handed people, hence saving the company the trouble of having to make a left-handed gun. 

What is an ambidextrous pistol?

These are guns that typically have controls on both sides of the gun. This means that any disadvantages that lefties have when operating a standard pistol are removed.

This means that the left-handed person will have a more pleasant experience when shooting the gun as well as have a safer time. 

The Best Guns For Left-Handed People

So, if you are unsure about whether or not you would be comfortable using a standard pistol (typically designed for right-handed people) then it may be worth looking into purchasing an ambidextrous pistol.

Here we will let you know about some of the best options for left-handed people.

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Glock 19 Gen 5

It is a medium-sized pistol, measuring a little over 7 inches in length and 1.18 inches in width. The gen 5 version in particular has a slide stop lever that is ambidextrous, flared mag, a magazine release button that is reversible, and no manual safety.

This means that it is as easy as possible for a left-handed person to use. If you are worried about the safety aspect of this gun then it is worth noting that it has a drop safe trigger.


This 9mm pistol has completely ambidextrous controls, making it a great choice for left-handed people (or those who have to share their gun with a left-handed person). You can also install manual safety and use a decocking lever if desired. 

Beretta APX Centurion

The ergonomic design of this gun makes it incredibly comfortable in the hand regardless of whether you are right-handed or left-handed. The grip on this pistol will be tight and high up. 

To make it a great option as an ambidextrous pistol it has an ambidextrous slide catch. It also has a reversible magazine release, hence removing the main issue that lefties have when using a standard pistol typically designed for right-handed people. 

However, it is important to note that this gun is slightly bulkier than the other pistols mentioned here. If you have larger hands then this may be an advantage for you but if you are looking for a slimmer, more discreet pistol then this is worth keeping in mind.

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Heckler and Koch VP9

Launches in 2014 this pistol has six side panels and three back straps (that can be changed). This means that this pistol has the benefit of being able to accommodate almost any sized grip. 

Unlike on competition pistols, the handgrips on this gun are molded so that they are comfortable for both right-handed and left-handed people. 

Additionally, all of the controls are made to be ambidextrous. This even includes the magazine release and slide release, meaning that regardless of which hand is your dominant one you are going to find using this pistol extremely comfortable and easy. 


When shooting a gun it is incredibly important to ensure that you are completely comfortable with the gun that you are shooting. This can include anything from the size of the gun to the weight and even the molding of the handgrips.

You should always make sure that you are 100% engaged in the activity and one of the best ways to do this is to choose a suitable gun. Since only 12% of the country is left-handed gun manufacturers will typically make their standard pistols to suit right-handed people (as this will make up the vast majority of their customer base.

So, if you are left-handed then it may seem like there are few options out there and available to you. But do not be disheartened. Manufacturers produce what are known as “ambidextrous guns” which allow for ease of use whether you are right-handed or left-handed. 

This can involve many things such as reversible slide stop levers and magazine release clips. That way whether you yourself are left-handed, or you share your gun with someone who is, the user will have a great experience.

Not only will the pistol feel more comfortable in their hand but the convenience of these design features means that they can relax more without having to figure out how best to use the gun.